JUNE MAR Fajardo thinks the quarterfinals series of Petron against Barako Bull was perfect enough to prepare him for the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup semifinals where the Boosters will have no less than the brute Rain or Shine Elasto Painters for their opponents.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo banged in 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Petron’s 107-100 win over Barako Bull Friday night for a 2-0 sweep of their best-of-three series.
But the sophomore big man admitted he had to bleed for every point against Energy veteran center Dorian Pena.
“Malaking tulong ito (quarterfinal series against Barako Bull). Eh physical sila (Energy), Tapos next na kalaban namin physical din. Nakakapagod din makipag-banggaan kay Dorian,” said the soft-spoken Petron stalwart, who leads the statistical points in the race for the Best Player of the Conference award.
Fajardo is aware of the `double trouble’ awaiting him in the best-of-seven semifinals owing to the expected no-holds-barred defensive plays the Rain or Shine duo of Beau Belga and JR Quinahan are noted for.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo began to show promise as a young big man in last year’s Governors Cup semifinals against the Elasto Painter, averaging then career-high numbers of 14.7 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field in leading Petron to a 3-1 series win over Rain or Shine.
Petron went on to advance to the Finals, losing to eventual champion San Mig Coffee in seven games.
With his confidence growing every conference, Fajardo said he’s more prepared to play physical in the playoffs, especially with expected help coming from veteran teammates Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Doug Kramer.
“Malaking pasasalamat din sa mga teammates ko kasi tinutulungan nila ako. Hinahanap nila ako talaga sa opensa,” said the pride of Pinamungahan, Cebu.
Petron will take a day off before resuming practice on Sunday in preparation for its semis series against Rain or Shine beginning Monday.